You’ve probably noticed how few giveaways there have been here since the first of the year, and I want to explain what’s been going on. First, I want to point out that at the end of every giveaway post, I have this:
I’ll choose the winner using the “And the Winner Is” plugin on (date), announce them by editing the post, and email the winner for their mailing address. Shipping will be handled by the sponsor. Thanks for entering and good luck everybody!
I do not ship out giveaway prizes. EVER. When a giveaway ends, I email the winner or winners asking for their mailing address and a daytime phone number for package tracking. When I get the reply, I copy/paste that information into a new email addressed to the PR person who contacted me about hosting the giveaway. At that point, I am finished with my side of the giveaway.
Giveaway prizes can come from a variety of places based on what PR people have told me – sometimes they have the prize in their office and can ship it right out themselves. However, sometimes the prizes are going to come from a warehouse. Depending on what the prize is, it can easily take as long as SIX WEEKS for giveaway winners to get their prizes.
I don’t mind emails asking me to check on the shipping of a prize, I really don’t. I email the PR rep using the last address they emailed me from, ask if they could please email me back and let me know the status of the prize, and if I get a reply, I let the giveaway winner know what to expect. It should be just that easy.
Sometimes it’s not. Over the last few months, I have had PR people seem to vanish into thin air right after asking me to host their giveaway. I have had emails bounce back as undeliverable, I’ve left messages on voicemails that were never returned, I’ve tried tweeting the companies who make the prizes asking for their help, I’ve complained on Facebook.
I have bought giveaway winners replacement prizes out of my own pocket when their emails got ugly. I have sent giveaway winners products that were sent to me for review that I had wanted to keep, but instead mailed to the winners just so they would have something “like I promised”. I have gotten emails that made me close to tears, suggesting that I am dishonest and purposely deceiving people just so they will enter my giveaways. Seriously.
So here’s the thing, my wonderful readers – I like doing giveaways. Yes, I like the increased traffic and subscribers I get from them, but I also just plain like knowing that someone is going to win a prize just because of me. But because of the stress of it, I have stopped doing them until I can figure out a better way to handle the shipping situation. I don’t like emailing the contact person over and over and getting no reply. I don’t like winners who are disappointed, and I certainly don’t like angry emails from winners accusing me of dishonest practices. But, I also don’t want to pay out of my own pocket to ship the prizes, either.
If you win a giveaway from me, please know that I agreed to do the giveaway because I believed the contact person when they said they would handle shipping out the prize. I am not “keeping your prize for myself”. I don’t have an assistant or a staff or anyone else but me to spend time sending out email after email after email trying to get you your prize. I absolutely do everything I can within my power, because I care. That’s pretty much everything I wanted to say on this topic, except that if you had to spend your time sending me email after email trying to GET your prize, I’m sorry. I really am. Thanks for reading this. Comments are welcome.